Starting in 1981 – Britain’s ‘Year of the Disabled’ – the Mersea Island Festival has been an annual event each August at Essex Outdoors Mersea (East Mersea Youth Camp). The Festival aims to bring together young people and adults with or without a physical or learning disability to take part in a wide variety of activities that challenge and stimulate, helping to build the confidence and feelings of self worth in participants. At the same time they are fun and exciting and an opportunity to make new friends.
Who can come?
The camps are ideal for families, inclusive clubs, Phab and Gateway clubs and Youth Groups with disabled young people. Many of our more adventurous activities are for those aged 8 and above but there is plenty for people of all ages to have a go at and enjoy. Over 300 people come from all over the UK and sometimes abroad. Our team of volunteers are on hand to make sure everyone can have a great experience, whatever their ability. Unfortunately they are not able to provide one-to-one support or personal care. If personal assistance is needed we ask that campers come along with a friend, buddy or support worker, who will also take part in all the activities. There is a limited number of spaces for individuals attending independently and contact should be made with the Festival before booking.
Where is it?
Essex Outdoors Mersea is an established outdoor centre on Mersea Island, 10 miles south of Colchester on the Essex coast. The centre provides a residential experience with a wide range of inclusive activities in 65 acres of open countryside with access to the beach.
What’s on offer?
Both camps include a wide variety of activities. Each year the Festival has a different theme and the programme will be planned around this. Some of the activities from previous years are shown on the Activities page. We can’t promise them all and they are subject to availability.
Accommodation and food
Accommodation is mostly under canvas but we do have some beds in cabins for those who find it impossible to sleep in a tent. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in the dining hall and we aim to meet individual dietary requirements. Other snacks and drinks are also available and a bar is open during the entertainment each evening.
The whole site is on one level and the halls, bar, toilet and shower blocks are wheelchair accessible. Disabled toilet and shower facilities are available with family rooms. The swimming pool has a hoist. A portable hoist is available, but we ask users to bring their own slings. Please let us know of any specific needs when you book.
Please contact us to discuss any individual needs you may have so we can make sure you get the most from your stay.